Status quo is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues. In the sociological sense, it generally applies to maintain or change existing social structure and values. With regards to policy debate, the status quo refers to how conditions are at the time and how the affirmative team can solve these conditions.
It is the nominal form of the prepositional Latin phrase "in statu quo" – literally "in the state in which", which itself is a shortening of the original phrase in statu quo res erant ante bellum, meaning "in the state in which things were before the war". To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are. The related phrase status quo ante, literally "the state in which before", means "the state of affairs that existed previously".
The original phrase from 14th-century diplomatic Latin was in statu quo res erant ante bellum, meaning "in the state in which things were before the war". This gave rise to the shorter form status quo ante bellum "the state in which (it was) before war" (indicating the withdrawal of enemy troops and restoration of power to pre-war leadership), as well as other variations such as status quo itself.
Social movements are an example of times when the status quo might be challenged. In these instances status quo refers to the current state of affairs around a particular issue, or perhaps the current culture or social climate of an entire society or nation. The status quo is generally perceived negatively by supporters of the social movement, and people who want to maintain the status quo can be seen as being resistant to progress.
Politicians sometimes refer to a status quo. Often there is a policy of deliberate ambiguity, referring to the status quo rather than formalizing the status. Clark Kerr is reported to have said: "The status quo is the only solution that cannot be vetoed", meaning that the status quo cannot simply be decided against; action must be taken if it is to change.
Status quo can also refer to a situation that people find mutually undesirable but the outcome of any changes to it may be overly risky; at the same time they recognize that eventual change will occur, and are open to the potential that a better alternative solution may emerge over time. For example, Taiwan's political status straddles the line of a sovereign state in its own right and a non-sovereign area of China. Neither a full declaration of independence nor a forceful incorporation of the island into China is considered ideal by both parties at the current stage. Thus being 'pro status-quo' in this case generally means 'wait-and-see'.
Karl Marx viewed organized religion as a means for the bourgeoisie to keep the proletariat content with an unequal status quo, and education is seen by others as a means of maintaining the status quo of society.
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- "Status Quo" - Google Definitions
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